Estate Planning Attorneys Helping Families across Florida with POA Documents
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives authority to one person from another. The individual making the POA is referred to as the “principal, ” and he or she grants an agent the right to make decisions on his or her behalf. The language in the POA determines the extent of power the agent has, and in some cases, very broad power is given to an agent. Therefore, it is important that you understand how these documents work, when you should use them, and the importance of hiring an attorney to draft your POA.
Exploring the Three Types of Power of Attorneys
In Florida, there are three main types of POAs – each with their specific limitations and powers granted.
- Limited Power of Attorney – The agent has authority to act, but only in specific situations. For example, you might give a limited power of attorney to an agent so that he or she can sell your property in another state. The agent is limited to selling the property and its associated transactions.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Once incapacitated, the durable power of attorney activates, and the agent remains in his or her capacity. The document must contain particular wording to provide power that survives post-incapacity, however. Most POAs today are durable power of attorney documents.
- General Power of Attorney – A general POA provides the agent with broad power to perform acts on behalf of the principal, but you must include specific activities they are authorized to complete in your document.
Do I Need a Power of Attorney?
Your power of attorney becomes effective the moment you sign it, while the durable power of attorney is contingent on incapacitation – known as “springing” power. However, springing POAs are no longer allowed after September 30, 2011.
Your Durable Power of Attorney only provides the agent the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if the document says so. Therefore, if you have a living will, your designated party in the living will would handle medical decisions, while the agent in your durable power of attorney handles his or her authorized duties.
A power of attorney protects you if you become incapacitated. You give a person the authority to conduct banking transactions or investments on behalf of your estate, which is important if you are incapacitated and cannot make such decisions yourself.
Why Hire an Attorney for a Power of Attorney Document?
While these documents sound straightforward, it is in your best interest to always consult an attorney. The language used in your document determines the authority an agent has over your estate. Furthermore, the slightest incorrect wording could affect the legitimacy of your POA.
Specific laws govern how a POA is written, signed, and witnessed. Therefore, it is best to consult with an attorney from Beller & Bustamante, P.L. We recommend utilizing a POA as part of your overall estate plan.
Let our attorneys help you decide which documents your estate plan requires, then we will prepare them in accordance with the new statutes so that you protect yourself and your loved ones. Schedule a consultation to start your estate planning session today at 904-288-4414 or request an appointment online.